For many people, the effect a missing tooth has on their appearance is enough to justify seeking a replacement. However, if the visual impact of a lost tooth is not enough by itself for you to remedy the problem, you should know that an absent tooth can cause problems for your oral health. The teeth on either side of a missing tooth are less protected, and more vulnerable to being lost. The impact an absent tooth has on chewing, biting, and talking, can cause uncomfortable jaw movements, which can become painful. Replacement options are available to correct for missing a single tooth, or multiple teeth.
Your dentist can provide a replacement for a missing tooth that can emulate the function, and the appearance, of the natural tooth. With a dental bridge, your dentist will place a crown over the teeth on either side of the absent tooth, and insert a pontic (the false tooth, designed to look like a regular tooth) between the crowned teeth. A bridge can also be affixed to a dental implant, which is surgically rooted to the jaw bone. A dental implant can be used to hold a bridge in place, or a crown. Crowns and bridges can be made from one of several materials; your dentist can help you determine which material is right for your needs.
Dentures can be used when you have lost many, or all, of your teeth. Full dentures are designed as a replacement for when all of your teeth have been lost. Partial dentures can be made to replace multiple consecutive absent teeth. Both partial and full dentures can be secured with dental implants.